The Museum at the Berlin-Gatow airfield houses the major part of the Bundeswehr collection of exhibits on aviation history.
It comprises a wide variety of historical objects bearing testimony to military aviation in Germany, from the German Empire to our present-day armed forces on deployment. The collection focuses on the German air forces but also deals with Allied life in Germany.
The Museum's inventory is based on a private collection, which was handed over to the Bundeswehr as an air force museum in Appen near Hamburg in 1987. After 1990, exhibits from the disbanded National People's Army were added to the collection so that the Museum soon was in possession of one of the largest collections of aerial assets from the Cold War era worldwide, consisting of exhibits from both political blocs.
In 1994, the Museum moved to Berlin. Since then, the collection has been extended through equipment transfers from the troops, donations and occasional purchases. Today, the Gatow collection comprises more than 600,000 exhibits, including 214 aircraft, 66 air defense missile systems, radar systems and other major items of defense equipment, documents, art, uniforms, personal estates, training materials and a great deal else.
The merger of the air force museum with the Bundeswehr Museum of Military History allows for an optimization of the common depot structure with regard to the collection and an extension of research with the use of and on exhibits. Storage conditions will be further improved to meet the requirements of the exhibits. By avoiding a duplication of depot spaces both in Berlin and in Dresden, unnecessary expenses are prevented.
The Bundeswehr Museum of Military History as a whole has a collection of more than 1.6 million objects.